Current and former CDC employees told NBC News that career staffers are still struggling to influence key decisions on the pandemic as new daily Covid-19 cases soar nationwide, but are overruled by Trump appointees when politics intrudes.

Most recently, they said, they wanted to extend the “No Sail” order for cruise ships through February. It had been set to expire four days before the Nov. 3 election. Instead, they say Vice President Mike Pence’s office pushed for the order to expire, which stands to benefit 21,000 cruise industry workers in the swing state of Florida…

The political pressure has taken its toll on CDC employees, said the current and former staffers. One current staffer said that during a recent Zoom call, a supervisor went so far as to instruct CDC staff to be loyal to the Constitution, not to the president.

Another current employee said: “I don’t know if the damage to our reputation can be overcome with a new administration. I worry it’s a permanent problem.”